Jaguar XX732

Sepecat Jaguar GR1A XX732, 226 OCU, RAF Lossiemouth
crashed Eskdalemuir Forest, Craik on 27th November 1986


PositionRank/TitleFull NameAgeService NumberInjury
PilotCaptainDavid Ronald ButeauFatal

Accident Details

The aircraft left Lossiemouth at 12:35 hrs for a low level training exercise.  At the controls was Captain David Ronald Buteau, a USAF exchange pilot.  The weather for the flight was good with occasional rain showers forecast, however the aircraft was last heard from when passing westwards through the the range at Spadeadam near Carlisle at 13:05 hours.

The wreckage of the aircraft was found later the same evening near Stock Hill in Eskdalemuir Forest, sadly Captain Buteau had been killed.  The aircraft had been flying from south to north and it appears to have clipped the very top of the ridge and exploded, scattering wreckage over a very large area and damaging some of the young trees.

The investigation into the accident was hampered by a lack of technical evidence such was the destruction of the aircraft.  Because of this the cause of the accident was not positively identified.  However, intermittent radar plots by Scottish Air Traffic Control between 13:05 and 13:15 hours suggested that Captain Buteau had deviated from his planned route by turning onto a northerly heading after passing Spadeadam.   This change in track could have brought him into a weather front to the north of Langholm and it is believed Captain Buteau increased his height which would have put him into cloud.

From the available evidence, it is possible that Captain Buteau used dry power instead of full reheat power for the pull up; as a result, his speed would have reduced at a much faster rate during the climb, and to regain this lost airspeed it is believed Captain Buteau put the aircraft into a 20 degree dive.  The aircraft had just pulled level from this dive when it struck the ridge at an altitude of 1,400ft.

The Crash Site

The point of impact, in the form of a deep cleft in the ridge top, is still clearly visible.  From this point northwards are a scattering of fragments.  The forest crop was quite young at the time of the crash and many of the smaller pieces are imbedded in the tree trunks.  Some of the larger pieces are hanging from the branches, carried up as the trees have grown.

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